Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday destroyed a total of 28.1 tons of illicit drugs comprising cannabis saliva, nacortic and psychotropic substances.
The destroyed illicit drugs were those that were seized between 2012 and July 2020 which were duly forfeited by the order of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on September 3 and September 9, 2020.
Speaking during the public destruction of the seized drug exhibits, state Commander of NDLEA, Mrs. Florence Ezeonye said the exercise is a judicial process marking the final action in a case in drug law enforcement administration after the suspects in question have been prosecuted and convicted.
The state Commander who led the National chairman and executive officer of the Agency, Col Mustapha Abdallah (rtd) and several other heads of security agency, stakeholders on the destruction exercise called for collaboration among sister agencies, stakeholders, traditional rulers in the onerous task of tackling the menace of contraband or illicit drugs in the society.
She explained that the exercise was carried out to show transparency and organizational sincerity in making sure that all drugs seized are taken out of circulation permanently as ordered by the Federal High Court.
“The quantity of different drugs displayed on stage for destruction today shows the commitment of the NDLEA toward the promotion of national security and health of our citizens as it is obvious that hard drug is a catalyst which propels criminals in committing heinous crimes.
Ezeonye noted that the substances were seized from all the local government of the state adding that about one-third of the cannabis sativa were from cannabis farmers in the state.
On his part, chairman and executive officer of the agency, Col. Abdallah (rtd), decried the alarming rate of deforestation, soil degradation of the forest and physical obstruction of our all round development by cultivation of cannabis sativa.
He appealed to the people to rather channel their energies towards agriculture instead of indulging in the illicit use of cannabis which he noted, is now a cankerworm.
The NDLEA boss therefore called for the courage to stamp out cannabis and embrace alternative cropping for the benefit of the society.
In his keynote address, Governor Samuel Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu, regretted that many hopefuls in the society have been destroyed as a result of intake of the illicit drugs.
Ortom stated that the NDLEA must ensure that its objective should not only be in apprehension but also in educating people against indulging in drug abuse.
“We must also ensure there are rehabilitation centers manned by well trained medical experts. We need to step up the establishment of rehabilitation centers with state of the art facilities to help drug victims fully recover.
Highpoint of the occasion was the signing of the destruction certificate/ register and the destruction exercise of the ceased illicit drugs by representative of the Army, Navy, Police, DSS, NSCDC, Immigration, NAPTIP, NYSC and traditional rulers and the media.